In just a few hours, the final "Twilight" movie will hit theaters. With an impressively speedy five movies in four years, audiences have seen teen Bella (Kristen Stewart) fall for a mysterious new classmate, Edward (Robert Pattinson), stop him from committing suicide, fight off an army of newborn vampires led by the evil Victoria, get married, have a baby, and transform into a vampire herself.
And now, 'Breaking Dawn 2' will see Bella and Edward assemble an army of vampires from around the world to fight off elders the Volturi, who are out to kill their child Renesmee. We saw the film earlier this week at the Rome Film Festival -- you can read our verdict here -- but with the release fast approaching, it seems like a good time to let the cast and crew speak for themselves, so below, you'll find ten highlights from the press tour, with director Bill Condon, stars Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, and others letting slip some behind-the-scenes tidbits from the press conference, and elsewhere. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Pt. 2" hits theaters on Friday.
1. "Breaking Dawn Pt. 2" sees a new kind of love story for the series
With Edward and Bella having tied the knot in the first part of 'Breaking Dawn,' one would assume that the central love triangle, with werewolf Jacob as the third point, would have run its course by now. Bill Condon says that the final film sees the romantic side of things move its emphasis off that, and onto the very different kind of love that comes with starting a family. "The triangle is over," he told a collection of "Twilight" fansites. "So it doesn’t have that, but the thing that has replaced it is, obviously their love for each other, but [also] their love for Renesmee. So that she becomes the focus, of all the strongest emotional moments in the movie. And then, I think again I think it was something that started in the first movie, but there is a sense of, these are grownups now. So it is, they are married and they take time out to express their feelings for each other, but it is not in that same kind of yearning way, that teenage yearning way. It’s very mature. I think people will be surprised by that."
Even those who mock the franchise have been looking forward to the final installment of the series, if only because of one of Meyer's more out-there story conceits -- the way that Jacob "imprints" on young Renesmee, finding his soulmate. It's undoubtedly a difficult thing to portray, something that Taylor Lautner acknowledged at the press conference ."It’s a fine line and I was worried about it," he said. "We were very lucky to have Stephenie Meyer, the author, on set with us for these last two movies, and I definitely had quite a few conversations with her. There was nobody better to ask about it than her, and she basically told me, 'Stop over-complicating it. Think here and now. That’s all you really have to focus on. It’s simple.' She said that it’s a lifelong bond between two people, and that’s it. At this point, it’s more of a brother-sister protective thing. That’s really all it is. I couldn’t allow myself to think ahead and go beyond that, so that’s the zone I had to stay in. Bill, our director, did a tremendous job with it because it is delicate. I think the fans are going to be happy with it."
3. Mackenzie Foy plays Renesmee at several ages through performance capture
One of the biggest challenges of making the new film was to find a way of depicting Renesmee, Edward and Bella's fast-aging daughter, as Stephenie Meyer related at the press conference. "We looked at younger actresses, but you needed this person who could have meaningful conversations with her parents and who we would believe in these really hard scenes. It didn’t take them too long to convince me that they would just age her up faster." Ultimately, the answer came partly with actress Mackenzie Foy, and partly by enlisting the effects specialists behind "The Social Network" to allow the actress to play Renesmee even as a baby through performance capture. "Because Renesmee is supernaturally wise, in some ways, having an actress who’s nine playing all of the articulations of Renesmee, from looking six months old until 10, was great because we could do performance capture with her and de-age her onto the proper scale that we needed to. But, it was challenging. It was one of the most challenging aspects of this movie."
"Twilight" stands as one of the rare modern day franchises that have never gone the 3D route, but Condon confirmed in an interview with "Twilight" fansites that he though of dimensionalizing 'Breaking Dawn' to begin with. "When I first got involved, I thought this movie should be in 3d. Because we are crossing over into Bella. We always heard what they do when they hunt and what they do when they come home and what it’s like to see at night, to be able to see so clearly, but we never experienced it. Now we get to." Ultimately, he decided it was "probably a mistake."
The release of 'Breaking Dawn Pt. 2' won't mark the end of Condon's involvement with the franchise, even though he's going to be shooting a Julian Assange film starring Benedict Cumberbatch and James McAvoy soon. The director confirmed that he's planning to cut the two films together into a single, extra-long 'Breaking Dawn' movie. "Ultimately they are going to be one movie," the director told the fansites. "And that’s going to be an interesting thing, I haven’t even actually looked at it that way yet. In fact, we’re just starting to put that together." Whether it sees theatrical release or is only on home video isn't yet clear, but we're sure fans will be delighted.